Americans love neon. Everyone loves neon, but there is something distinctly American about neon art. In American Echo Chamber, this adoration is reflected back at us, not in Day-Glo daydreams, but in garish, violent light. As the wall of light moves up, barring us from entry, barring us from leaving, one realizes that this is a nightmare of our own making.
A refugee family sprints across the room, fleeing from danger, and into an even greater one. Giant bullets point menacingly down, accompanied by the images we associate with the sleek underbelly of American ideals, the panopticon eyes, sometimes weeping, flashing currency symbols, waving flags. Glimmering totems to who we really are, shining like a beacon in the night.
José Carlos Martinat: American Echo Chamber is on view at the Pérez Art Museum Miami through January 26.